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Category:    Home > Reviews > Asian > Japanese > Memento Mori (DTS)

Memento Mori (Asian Cinema)


Picture: B     Sound: B+     Extras: B-     Film: A



Water wraps around the legs of a little Asian girl dressed in schoolgirl attire.  She sinks to the bottom, clutching a red book in her small hands.  The water engulfs her and bubbles start to escape her mouth.  This is an example of the imagery of the visually stunning film, Memento Mori.


The film succeeds in a place that most films don’t – it creates suspense.  Between the fast cuts, the natural acting, and the innovative sound design – the film makes you feel uneasy.  You’re never quite sure what is going on until another twist is thrown at you.  You never know what is coming up next.  The dialogue is witty and memorable.  The acting is never over the top but right on the mark. I really can’t tell you how happy I am seeing a film like this.


The film is about two troubled, yet ordinary girls.  Within the first five minutes, we see how irresponsible and immature they are.  They’re goofing off in class. They’re getting in trouble with their peers and teachers.  Nobody quite understands them.  Is it because they have a sense of humor or because they’re out of control teenagers?  The finding of a diary matures the girls whilst at the same time, makes them stranger.  But the film is pretty strange itself.  It’s always face paced and doesn’t give you much room to breathe.  Bodies are found, birds are let loose in class, people and screaming, dying, and crying.  The film is dark and has more guts than most films in its genre.  Imagine if a more intense, R-rated cut of The Sixth Sense was made in Asia and you can start to understand what you’re in for.  This film reminds me of another Tartan release I saw a few months ago, the extraordinary Tales Of Two Sisters (with my review located elsewhere on this site.)  Both films have young women as the main characters who are in two equally as creepy films.


The 5.1 DTS Surround Sound on this disc is superb.  The sound of heartbeats pan and echo all around you during key scenes.  The music and sound design on this film is haunting and keeps you hooked into the film at all times.


The anamorphically enhanced 2:35.1 widescreen aspect ratio on this disc is superb. The picture quality on this disc is off the normal.  The blues and whites are very vibrant without while some of the darker colors can at times, be a bit too deep.  The colors are even through out and bold and dark when they need to be.  The reds are very bright and contrast well over the white uniforms they are usually attached too.  Memento Mori is a bloody film and Tartan has once again given us an impressive disc to compliment an interesting film.


As for the extras, there’s a nice behind the scenes documentary, photo gallery, and some trailers for some upcoming Tartan Asia Extreme releases.  I hope that Tartan in the future gives this film a two disc special edition as they did with A Tale of Two Sisters. However, this is a not – to – be missed film that anyone interested in creepy suspense thrillers or good Asian Cinema should check out.



-   Jamie Lockhart


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